Friday, January 7, 2011

Our Dearly Departed Judies

Contributed by: Andy Gish



The Judies are gone.  At least for a long time.  They have lost their leader to a 20 year prison sentence and I regret that so many people did not even get to see them perform live.  They were a true Atlanta treasure and were likely under appreciated at the time.

They were energetic, creative and an instantly likable - even to this music snob.  I had slumped into my normal routine of only seeing bands that I already knew and showing up late to shows, missing the openers.  Every time I do this, I know I am missing out.  How many times am I going to have to learn this lesson?

So, this particular night I accidentally happened upon The Judies at the Star Bar and was pleasantly surprised.  I had known a indie rock band back in 1988 from Texas called The Judys so I was already thinking to myself, "these Judies" better be good.  The Star Bar was packed... and not just with people standing around staring at the stage afraid to sway to the music or tap a toe.  They were dancing and singing as this very thin and tall lead singer orchestrated the entertainment belting out catchy melodies.

If you saw the Judies live, you know.  If you have listened to the songs, you can imagine.  If you have done neither of these, you should.

I am not going into the details of the court case and what happened and why the Judies are on an exceptionally long hiatus.  Briefly: In 2010, the lead singer Warren Ullom went to prison for his involvement in the death of a woman 2 years earlier that he was shooting up heroin with.

It sucked.  It's horrific.  But "this" is not about "that".  This is about the music and what we are missing now.  I appreciate the severity of what happened.  I am an ER nurse.  Believe me, I know.   But I am also a musician and realize that another part of the tragedy is that we have also lost an artist that Atlanta could use.

Great music... sad ending... at least for now.  There has been chat of the band playing with a new lead singer but no details or formal plans have been stated as far as I can tell.  Those would be some pretty large shoes to fill.

So for now, what we have now are some songs to get to know the Judies by.

And here is an artsy little video filmed around places you will easily recognize as being truly Atlantan and a song that seems kind of sad to me now.

Even though I barely knew The Judies, I miss them.



6 comments:

  1. I was the guitar player for The Judies for all but the last 9 months of the band. I played on the records and arranged the songs with Warren, my best-bud.

    Thanks for this write-up. JUDIES <3 YOU.

    PS, we wont be doing a thing without our main man Warren. He'll be back sooner than ya think!

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    1. Yes I agree my friend. Amazing write up. Thank you for your contributions to the music.

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  2. I wonder, sometimes when I'm missing her with all my heart, whether he removed her screw-back diamond earrings before or after she died. And how much he got for them when he pawned them. I wonder how many times he's injected unconscious girls with cocaine when he said "don't worry, I've done this before." I wonder if Rachel suffered. I wonder if she knew what was going on. I wonder if he realized that if she went to the hospital and lived that she would file assault charges against him for injecting her with cocaine, then decided to kill her. I'll never know what happened, but I know she was sick for 8 hours and someone tried to save her and he still decided to inject her with cocaine rather than call 911. He could have left her on a street corner and she'd be alive right now. He played God, and he got what he deserved.

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  3. Hey there Anonymous,

    My heart goes out to you and everyone who lost Rachel that day. A loss like this is impossible to process.

    I agree, if only he had called for help! The police I have worked with in heroin overdose patients have never prosecuted the patient or their cohorts who called for help. More people who choose to use drugs should know this! Every choice he made after that moment was ill-advised and criminal!

    I struggled when first writing about the Judies. But as a musician, I feel I can separate the person from their music. I think Courtney Love is a miserable excuse for a person and mother but I still love that first Hole album. And I am a true believer that a band is more than the sum of its parts. And the Judies was more than just Warren. But if Rachel had been my friend, I am sure I would feel very different about their music.

    So, that's why this post was about the music... not the murder. I will leave that to the real journalists like in the Creative Loafing article.

    I am sad the Judies are not creating music. But the loss of Rachel is by far sadder.

    I know Warren is paying a sentence he clearly earned. I don't know Warren, but I hope he grasps the pain he has caused and will continue to cause.

    Warren is a felon, murderer, former druggie and thief, but he is also an artist, a human, someone's son and someone's friend. If he were my brother, I would be ashamed, heartbroken, mortified! I would carry the weight of his crime in my heart. And I would hope he would spend the rest of his life respecting the life he took that day.

    My heart is with you.

    -Andy

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  4. Sadly, I bought her those earrings... but I'm glad the earrings got that piece of shit caught.. rot in hell.. you Cleveland piece of shit.... I predict a Heroin overdose for you

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  5. Sadly, I bought her those earrings... but I'm glad the earrings got that piece of shit caught.. rot in hell.. you Cleveland piece of shit.... I predict a Heroin overdose for you

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